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SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE 165
always played mahjong, which is nearer to poker than to bridge. In this philosophy ofmakjong may be seen the essence of Chinese individualism.
An illustration of Chinese individualism may be seen in the organization of a Chinese newspaper. The Chinese run their papers as they play their mahjong. I have seen Chinese daily papers so edited as to require an editor-in-chief whose only business is to write editorials. The man in charge of domestic news has his page, the man in charge of international cables has his, and the man in charge of city news again has his own ground. These four men handle their respective departments Hke the four hands at a mahjong table, each trying to guess what the others have got. Each tries to make up his set and throws out the unwanted bamboo to the next man. If there is too much domestic news, it can conveniently flow over (without warning, as far as the reader is concerned) to the page for city news, and if this again has too much copy, it can conveniently flow over to the murders and conflagrations. There is no necessity for front-page make-up, no selection, no coordination, no subordination. Each editor can retire at his own good time. The scheme is simplicity itself. Moreover, both the editors and the readers are born individualists. It is the editor's business to publish the news, and the reader's business to look for it. They do not interfere with one another. This is the journalistic technique of some of the oldest, largest and most popular daily papers in China to this day.
If you ask why there is no co-ordination, the answer is, there's no social mind. For if the editor-in-chief tries to initiate reforms and fire the city editor for obstruction, he will run up against the family system. What does he mean by interfering with other people's business? Does he mean to throw the city editor out and break his rice-bowl, starving all the people dependent upon him? And if the city editor's wife is the proprietor's niece, can he throw him opt? If the editor-in-chief has any Chinese social consciousness, he will not attempt such a thing, and if he is a raw American-returned graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, he will soon have to get out. Another man who knows Chinese social ways will get in, the old scheme will go on working, the readers